Experts believe a coordinated attack from hackers was responsible for affecting dozens of websites on Thursday 7th August. Micro-blogging site Twitter, social networking portal Facebook, the blog tool Live Journal and the computer game service Xbox Live all experienced technical problems as a result of the attack.
The issue was caused by a distributed denial of service (DOS) - where thousands of virus-infected computers simultaneously log onto certain websites - resulting in their failure.
It is thought the disruption to the sites was the result of a coordinated attempt to silence a European blogger critical of last year’s conflict between Georgia and Russia.
Max Kelly, Facebook’s chief security officer, confirmed that the attack was aimed at the blogger. Kelly commented:
“It was a simultaneous attack across a number of properties targeting him to keep his voice from being heard.”
The one where ITV sold the website
ITV has sold the social media site Friends Reunited. The networking portal was purchased by Brightsolid for £25 million. The sale cost £10 million more than analysts had initially predicted.
Michael Grade, executive chairman of ITV, said the site no longer fitted into ITV’s digital plans.
“The game has changed. Friends Reunited does not fit our strategy,” he said.
The television company purchased Friends Reunited in 2005 for £120 million. ITV is thought to have made a £150 million loss on the project. When questioned by reporters, Grade defended the initial purchase of the site.
“It was regarded at the time as a good price. But the market has changed dramatically. You may have noticed but there's a recession on.
Comment isn’t free
Media tycoon Rupert Murdoch has confirmed that he plans to charge users to access all News Corporation websites by summer, 2010. The strategy will include UK papers, the Times, the Sun and the News of the World.
“Quality journalism is not cheap,” Murdoch said. “The digital revolution has opened many new and inexpensive distribution channels but it has not made content free. We intend to charge for all our news websites.”
It is not yet clear what form the charge will take.